Carrot Top Pesto


Don't throw away those carrot tops! Make this delicious carrot top pesto with them to toss with pasta, beans, or eat straight up as a dip.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

While carrots are available all year round, the best season for carrots is in the spring, and in the spring you can often find carrots with their feathery green tops still attached.

(Cue Bugs Bunny chomping on a carrot, “what’s up doc?”)

If you happen to buy carrots with carrot tops, I urge you to think twice before throwing the carrot tops away! You’ve paid for them, and if they are still fresh and green, you may as well use them, right?

Fresh Young Carrots with carrot tops carrot greens

Carrots are in the same family (apiaceae) as parsnips, coriander, fennel, and parsley. Not surprisingly the carrot greens taste a lot like parsley!

A little bitter, a little carrot-y. Greens from younger carrots are milder than those from older carrots.

Carrot tops are high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. Use them as you would parsley, or in place of parsley in recipes. Strip the leaves from the tough stems, add them to stock or soup, put them in salads, or make chimichurri.

Or make this carrot top pesto. I promise you this pesto will change your mind forever about carrot greens.

Since carrot tops are slightly on the bitter side (like parsley), we are using equal amounts of baby spinach and tops for this pesto. You could also swap out some of the greens in other pesto recipes with carrot tops.

How to use carrot top pesto? Like any other pesto. Mix it with pasta, serve it as a dip, add it to baked smashed potatoes, toss it with white beans, or go all in with carrots and serve it as a spread over roasted baby carrots.

Carrot Top Pesto Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup of pesto


  • 1 cup (packed, about 40 g) carrot top greens, tough stems removed
  • 1 cup (packed, about 40 g) baby spinach
  • 1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup (63 g) roasted unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) extra virgin olive oil

Special equipment:

  • Food processor


1 Prep the carrot tops: Rinse the carrot top greens to dislodge any dirt. Pick out and discard any dry, yellowed, or otherwise unappetizing looking leaves. Discard tough stems.

prep carrot tops for carrot top pesto

2 Pulse greens, garlic, cashews, salt, pepper in food processor: Place the carrot tops greens, baby spinach, chopped garlic, roasted cashews, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse several times. Scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula.

3 Slowly add the olive oil: While the food processor is running, slowly pour in the olive oil in a steady stream. Scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula. Pulse until smooth.

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Carrot Top Pesto

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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19 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Jami

    Wondered if we could do anything from our garden carrot tops. Really enjoyed this and glad to have a use for the carrot tops!


  2. Heather

    Just made it with otherwise would’ve been discarded carrot tops and I am loving it! I added a little extra garlic (because my bf is a garlic fiend!), and now I intend to do this as often as possible! Great recipe! Thank you!


  3. Kim

    So delicious and easy. I added a little basil. ❤️❤️


    Show Replies (1)
  4. Amberglas

    Yum! Used a mix of spinach and arugula in place of spinach, and toasted hazelnuts instead of cashews. And an extra garlic clove, because why not? Added a dash of balsamic vinegar as the pesto seemed rather salty at first. Let sit overnight if possible, as the flavors get a chance to meld better and become awesome. Can’t wait to try this on pasta!

  5. Lydia

    Love this! I have raw cashews – any ideas how long I should roast them for to make it work for this recipe?

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Pesto made with carrot greensCarrot Top Pesto